The Value of a Computer Engineering Degree
The tech world is full of developers, programmers, architects, and analysts who have turned their passions into thriving careers. Currently, I am working my way into this world, completing a computer engineering degree at Purdue University. Though this degree may seem daunting, it provides students with extremely valuable skills that translate into diverse career opportunities.
In this blog I will describes what computer engineering is and the value of a computer engineering degree.
What is Computer Engineering?
CE is an innovative career that combines elements of computer science and electrical engineering. Designing and implementing hardware and software, computer engineers work to make advancements in digital technology, computer networking and computer systems to enhance capabilities and improve the user experience.
Those interested in computer engineering have a few options for formal education. Associate degrees typically take 2 years and are great for those who want to enter the workforce asap or who want to develop some skills before committing to a 4 year degree. Those interested in a 4 year bachelor’s degree are exposed to various aspects of CE and can specialize later on. Typically specializations revolve around 4 areas: Advanced Programming, Embedded Systems, Applied Programing, and Mobile Application Development. Masters and doctoral degrees are also an option.
No matter the path you take to obtain a CE degree, you will likely receive a comfortable salary. In 2014 the median salary for computer engineers was $108,430.
Getting a degree in Computer Engineering is no cake walk. It’s four years, give or take, of intense classes on operating systems, object-oriented programming, algorithms and theories, and of course, science and math. Not only are these courses intense, they also include a lot of time spent in the lab to hone their skills and apply theories. Students report spending anywhere between 15–35 hours a week throughout their bachelor degree attending lectures, labs, and studying. It’s like a full time job!
To do all of this takes dedication,passion, and above else, a strong work ethic. Potential employers recognize all the hard work graduates have put into their studies, especially when they achieve Dean’s List or special recognition.
Hands On Experience
If you’re interested in a computer engineering degree, I recommend finding a program that focuses on internships and real-life practicums, even if this means extending your undergrad degree by another semester or a full year. Not only does this experience make students confident in their studies and skills, it also puts them ahead of the rest when they enter the workforce with job experience under their belt. If your program does not have internship opportunities, connect with professors to see if they have opportunities for one on one training.
This experience is more valuable than just putting your class lessons to good use, it also teaches you how to work in a professional environment, communicate effectively with coworkers, meet deadlines, and many other professional qualities necessary for success.
One of the best things about college is the abundance of educational resources around you. From labs to libraries to professors, the ability to fill your brain with all things computer engineering is endless. And that’s a pretty great thing. Sadly many students do not take advantage of everything educational institutions have to offer (and only realize how valuable it is once they graduate!).
- In the lab, you’ll be able to play around with different programming languages, code in test environments, and work with new software and hardware.
- Your professors will be able to provide guidance on projects and career development. They can offer real-world advice that you wouldn’t be able to get for free anywhere else. Their insight is invaluable and should definitely be taken advantage of. Learning from professors who have worked with old school ways can show insight into how and why current methodologies exist in today’s technologically dependent climate. It also gives you the opportunity to test the different methodologies yourself to see why and how things evolved.
- The library is full of books, tutorials, and programs to advance your knowledge on the past, present, and future of the field.
With the growing advancement of technology, from personal entertainment to healthcare purposes, computer engineering will continue to be an incredibly valuable degree throughout the world.